A PARKING company has removed a pole-mounted camera enforcing a controversial restriction at Old Milton Green shopping parade after district planners refused retrospective permission – but motorists are being warned a new one has apparently been mounted on one of the buildings.
The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) device had been in place at the Britannia Parking-controlled car park in New Milton for over two years, during which time many motorists have fallen foul of the 20-minute limit.
As reported in the A&T, the firm lost its bid to retain it in a ruling by New Forest District Council’s after a retrospective application received 176 objections.
Only one person had registered their support – the owner of the laundrette Launderama, which is based in the one building in the parade owned by a London-based landlord who also owns the car park.
A contractor was up on a cherry picker removing the camera from the pole on Wednesday morning, but he is also understood to have installed a new one on the exterior wall above Launderama.
This sparked anger on social media, with posts from people who had initially expressed their delight at the pole-mounted camera’s removal.
New Forest District Council has confirmed that the new position for the camera did not require consent because of its “negligible visual impact”.
A spokesperson for Britannia Parking said: “We can confirm that we have removed the pole in the car park after retrospective planning permission was denied, and we have complied fully with NFDC’s rulings.
“The camera system remains in place, along with the maximum stay regime of 20 minutes.”
But the spokesperson did not confirm that the new camera had been placed on the Launderama building.
The Old Milton Green car park has been the subject of much heated debate since Britannia began controlling it in 2017, with business owners complaining it was damaging trade.
Customers reported being put off visiting the site on the A337 Christchurch Road for fear of being landed with a £100 penalty charge notice.
New Milton Town Council has previously spoken out about the restriction, sharing many people’s views that 20 minutes was not enough time to use some of the outlets at the parade, which include a branch of Greggs and the Raj Indian restaurant.
The A&T has reported on disputes lasting months with a number of motorists claiming they were repeatedly threatened with hundreds of pounds in costs when they refused to pay up. However, several of the penalty notices have been successfully challenged.
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